The way we whir

They buzz among us. They are the hummers – men and women and sometimes neither, who, through no fault of their own, emit faint but conspicuous thrumming, whirring or buzzing sounds from somewhere on their persons. From day to day, they live with the stares, the rude comments and the earplugs. They walk into the room and all goes quiet – except for the humming, obviously.

Verticular vibrational variance or VVV is a not very debilitating but nonetheless annoying condition that afflicts 3 in 15 North Americans but curiously not 1 in 5 and only rarely 2 in 10. The condition ranges in severity from barely audible purring to fluorescent-bulb-level buzzing and can strike anyone, at any age, usually after lunch.

Science cannot explain VVV because science gets nervous speaking in front of people. What is known is that humming sounds appear to emit primarily from the base of the skull although there are frequent cases of full-body hummers. As with all sounds (except for the music of Boney M, which science can’t explain), person-projected purring is caused by vibrations, though it is unclear whether the vibrations originate at the skeletal, muscular, vascular, organical, nervular or lymphotonitronic level. Science likes to make up words sometimes.

Most VVV sufferers have their own tone and pitch, although these can vary in intensity depending on stimulation, with stress or excitement, for example, causing an increase in volume. This can result in considerable social discomfort, especially when those Victoria’s Secret ads come on TV.

What causes VVV is likewise unclear. Originally, researchers pointed at the H1N-HUM virus, but everyone complained that pointing was rude, so the researchers went off and sulked for a while, but they got over it, as researchers tend to, especially if university funding is hanging in the balance. There has also been the suggestion that VVV is connected to chronic tonsillitis, although at this point the evidence is purely adenoidal.

Researchers have, however, ruled out the possibility that VVV is caused by exposure to mass quantities of pastrami, which is good news indeed.

What’s not so good is this segue. What’s also not so good is the discrimination inflicted upon sufferers of VVV, the not-so-silent disease.

How many times, for example, has a VVV sufferer been asked at a job interview, “Are you humming?” and answered, “No, that’s just my cologne,” which doesn’t fool anyone, and consequently been unfairly refused the job? Answer: one time that we know of, maybe twice, but that’s one or two times too many.

Professionally, socially, rhythmically, VVV sufferers are often shunned, or “shummed,” as the victims themselves like to say, though nobody likes to hear them say it.

At the other end of the spectrum, people take advantage of VVV sufferers by thrusting their colicky babies at them in the hopes that the drone of the humming will soothe the wailing infant to sleep for one godforsaken hour of peace and quiet, is that too much to ask? And what do babies carry? Germs, which are fatal to VVV sufferers in .002 percent of cases. Guns don’t kill hummers; babies kill hummers.

Thankfully, there is hope. Not for VVV sufferers – they’re kind of screwed – but in general; I sincerely believe we have to have hope if we’re to make it in this crazy, mixed-up world full of weird, vibrating people.

However, if you or a loved one or someone you don’t like very much but have to work with anyway suffers from VVV, send your tax-not-deductible donation today to Victims of VVV (VVVV) care of the address being beamed into your home as we speak via wireless smart meters and the miracle of fluoridation. In exchange, you will get a keen laminated membership card as well as discount coupons for rolls of sound-buffering cotton batten that can be used to wrap you or your loved one or that guy. (One batten per square metre of person is a good rule of thrum.)

Act today. Please don’t let the plight of VVV sufferers fall on deaf ears, although that’s probably okay, come to think of it.


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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44 Responses to The way we whir

  1. Paul says:

    **Looks around comment area to see what others are saying – but the comment area is empty**

    **Quickly leaves website – V-V-V-V-roooooom!**

  2. I was actually in line at a Starbucks the other day and there was a guy singing, not humming, not real loud but audible words. I was so tempted to turn around and stare but couldn’t bring myself to it. So what’s that called?!?

  3. One of the benefits of hearing loss: Not hearing annoying noises. I WIN!!!

  4. Ned's Blog says:

    The term “I’ve got a good buzz going” has often been misinterpreted. Thanks for clearing that up.

  5. Yahooey says:

    This post should come with a warning – it is a carrier of the virus. My first reaction after reading the post was to emit the let-me-think-about-that Hmmm.

  6. There was a distinct humming sound as this one flew over my head. 🙂

  7. Elyse says:

    The ending was perfect …

  8. goldfish says:

    The vast display of puns in this post requires a non-profit charity of its own.

  9. The Hook says:

    You had me at “hummer”.
    Then I read on and was disappointed – slightly.
    Then I read on.

  10. markbialczak says:

    You have to be tuning-forking with us, right, Ross?

  11. ksbeth says:

    funny, i often find of of these people in my kindergarten circle.

  12. ksbeth says:

    ‘one of’ – oops, i couldn’t hear myself writing, the humming was too loud )

  13. I hear there’s a pill for VVV, but the side-effects are “asking questions aloud when nobody is around”, and “pen clicking.”

  14. Trent Lewin says:

    Every now and then, I come across a blog post that enlightens and educates me. I scour the internet studiously for such things, but boy, it’s a long road between at times. I think you’ve inspired me to start some kind of VVV support group. And make t-shirts. Songs of protest and support. Body art, of the tasteful kind. Anything to help my fellow man.

    In case anyone is wondering, I am drinking wine and listening to Boney M. If I had a pastrami, I’d eat it. And I am definitely going to work the word “adenoidal” into a letter tomorrow, just to see if anyone noticed.

    Well done Ross. You have inspired me to action… nothing good can come of this.

  15. So…wait…are people aware that they’re doing it or does it go on subconsciously? I’m glad to hear about the pastrami. Because I wouldn’t stop even if it was the cause.

    I don’t do this but I do talk to myself out loud quite a bit. I lived alone for many, many years and would routinely carry on one-sided conversations with my two cats. It’s a habit that just won’t die. I think it REALLY irritates the people at my office. I work in an open-architecture environment and it can be quite a disruption, as you can imagine.

  16. Karen says:

    I don’t hum but I do make sound effects, e.g. I say “Crash!” instead of “Pardon” when I bump into someone.

    Also, I say “Blam!” when I shoot someone (It’s a joke, people. I don’t actually shoot people. Poison is more my style.)

  17. LifeLoofah says:

    Your posts are like candy – such a treat!

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